CambridgeAudio CXA81 v/s Bluesound PowerNode2i

Wharfedale EVO 4.1 4.2 Speakers

druk2004

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Dear experts,

I am trying to purchase a "not so complex" stereo sound system. More comfortable with 1 box solution.

Just wanted to have your opinion about the DAC quality. Which one would have better DAC between CXA81 and Powernode 2i ?

Also, from sound output perspective, how are these two comparable ?

Cheers,
Roy
 

DB1989

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Dear experts,

I am trying to purchase a "not so complex" stereo sound system. More comfortable with 1 box solution.

Just wanted to have your opinion about the DAC quality. Which one would have better DAC between CXA81 and Powernode 2i ?

Also, from sound output perspective, how are these two comparable ?

Cheers,
Roy
The DAC inside the CXA81 is pretty competent. Also, the bluetooth playback is fantastic (by Bluetooth standards). Compared to my Chord Mojo and Ifi Zen DAC, it does an admirable job and i never feel it wanting when i use it instead of the other two dedicated DACs.
 

druk2004

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The DAC inside the CXA81 is pretty competent. Also, the bluetooth playback is fantastic (by Bluetooth standards). Compared to my Chord Mojo and Ifi Zen DAC, it does an admirable job and i never feel it wanting when i use it instead of the other two dedicated DACs.
Thanks for the feedback !! Which speakers you have paired with CXA81 ? and Do I also need to have a Sub ? if yes, any suggestions ?
 

DB1989

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Thanks for the feedback !! Which speakers you have paired with CXA81 ?
I have tried the CXA81 with three speakers so far:
1. Quad S5
2. KEF Q350
3. Wharfedale Evo 4.2

The pairing with the Quad S5s and the KEF Q350s are stellar! Not so much with the Evo 4.2s.
and Do I also need to have a Sub ?
In my books, a sub is a must for two reasons:

1. Unless you absolutely nail the placement in a given room, bass reproduction is a hit and miss for most bookshelf speakers (for that matter, also floorstanders). Considering we live in a real world and not all of us possess a dedicated HT room which is well treated, its difficult to get the placement spot on because of space constraints and especially WAF. Therefore, you need a sub to generate/reinforce the lower frequencies which tend to go missing otherwise.

2. Even if you nail the placement, insofar as bookshelfs are concerned, most cant dig down below 35hz (exceptions do of course exist but i daresay i havn't seen any BS below 2L to dig down below 30hz). Though the bass response in itself may seem strong provided you nail the placement, theres still a ton of information contained below 35hz which will go missing if you don't employ a sub. When we make all the hullabaloo and effort for getting high res msuic and so on and so forth, it does not make sense to forego an entire octave of music, right?

You might prepare a dish with the most delectable and finest of ingredients and absolutely nail the cooking process but if you forego the salt, I'm sure the dish will be far from stellar. Bass is similar to my mind - its the bedrock upon which your music rests and it provides the foundation for the other frequencies to stand out, provided its well integrated.
if yes, any suggestions ?
If you want a sub for music, my go to recommendation is the REL Ti series. If you can make the stretch to the S series, thats even better. I find the REL to be exceptional because of, amongst other things, the high level input. It really helps integrate the sub seamlessly with the main speakers and I daresay once you've experience it, you can never go back to any other sub for music. It blends so well that my bookshelves sound like proper full range speakers with no audible handover of frequencies to the sub from the speakers.

For somthing that is great for both movies + music, look at the REL HT series. Get an HT1508 Predator and you're set.

For purely HT purpose, there are plenty of other competent subs in the same price range as the corresponding RELs.
 

DB1989

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Do I also need to have a Sub ?

In my books, a sub is a must for two reasons:

1. Unless you absolutely nail the placement in a given room, bass reproduction is a hit and miss for most bookshelf speakers (for that matter, also floorstanders). Considering we live in a real world and not all of us possess a dedicated HT room which is well treated, its difficult to get the placement spot on because of space constraints and especially WAF. Therefore, you need a sub to generate/reinforce the lower frequencies which tend to go missing otherwise.

2. Even if you nail the placement, insofar as bookshelfs are concerned, most cant dig down below 35hz (exceptions do of course exist but i daresay i havn't seen any BS below 2L to dig down below 30hz). Though the bass response in itself may seem strong provided you nail the placement, theres still a ton of information contained below 35hz which will go missing if you don't employ a sub. When we make all the hullabaloo and effort for getting high res msuic and so on and so forth, it does not make sense to forego an entire octave of music, right?
One of my reference tracks is "Ayala" by Mobitex. The first 2 minutes of the track contain some really low frequency information and is heavily dependent on it for conveying the emotion of the music (its a goosebump inducing experience if you hear it with a well integrated sub). Try listening to the track with and without a subwoofer. You'll understand what I'm referring to.
 

druk2004

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One of my reference tracks is "Ayala" by Mobitex. The first 2 minutes of the track contain some really low frequency information and is heavily dependent on it for conveying the emotion of the music (its a goosebump inducing experience if you hear it with a well integrated sub). Try listening to the track with and without a subwoofer. You'll understand what I'm referring to.
Thanks for your detailed suggestion !!
 

chiraghbir

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honestly none save a little more and get some much nicer... i had bluesound node 2i and i was not happy with the SQ but its full of features though
 

Lizard King

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Dear experts,

I am trying to purchase a "not so complex" stereo sound system. More comfortable with 1 box solution.

Just wanted to have your opinion about the DAC quality. Which one would have better DAC between CXA81 and Powernode 2i ?

Also, from sound output perspective, how are these two comparable ?

Cheers,
Roy

Worthy of consideration. Good quality. Fulfills your requirements. At present price excellent value.
 

bluestar

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Honestly, look at the other feathers as long as the DAC is decent enough. Maybe i'm not discerning enough but even with AB testing I can't tell the different between two competent dacs. although i can differentiate speakers and amps.
 

DB1989

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Honestly, look at the other feathers as long as the DAC is decent enough. Maybe i'm not discerning enough but even with AB testing I can't tell the different between two competent dacs. although i can differentiate speakers and amps.
Welcome to the club. But again, that depends on a number of variables. What were the DACs you compared? What was the chain? Did you volume match? How long was the interval while switching between both DAC's (since our memory is notoriously fickle)?
 
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